The United States Attorney General, recently announced that he supported changes to the United States Sentencing guidelines that were revealed by the United States Sentencing Commission.
Our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers have seen the changing policy again and again and realize that it affects the users of medicinal marijuana in Los Angeles in a big way as they attempt to navigate the confusing waters of marijuana regulation.
The United States Sentencing Commission decided to reduce the proposed prison sentence for individuals convicted of a drug-related charge.
The announcement is not a complete surprise, or is it? Realistically, confusion on the administration’s stance toward marijuana policy is a reoccurring theme, particularly over the last year.
The administration does seem to have taken a more hands off approach to marijuana enforcement policies and the war on drugs as a whole – in part this has been tied to a general effort to reduce the revenue spent on keeping individuals convicted of drug crimes incarcerated.
The reduction in guideline penalties for the trafficking of drugs does not affect the present statutory minimums for those crimes and violent offenders will continue to receive tough penalties.
The Department of Justice showed unequivocal support for the changes. The Department of Justice explained that the high rates of recidivism have caused many United States Citizens to lose faith in the criminal justice system in America.
The Department of Justice explained that approximately 50% of the country’s inmates are serving prison time due to a drug conviction.
Although the DOJ stated that efforts to reduce crime have had a positive effect, they also acknowledge the cost of keeping an inmate incarcerated has increased substantially over the last 20 years.
According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, as of early 2014 approximately 98,500 inmates were in prison due to a conviction of a drug-related charge.
California was among one of the states that contributed most significantly to the prison population with a total inmate population of 134,545 in 2012.
In addition, prison statistics show that state and federal prison admissions increased 301 percent between the years of 1978 and 2012.
Drug policy experts agree that the proposal to reform some of the sentencing guidelines is a step in the right direction.
Experts contend that United States prisons are suffering from an overcrowding crisis that is simply unsustainable. Changes to the guidelines will be a straightforward solution to this problem by reducing the number of people who are in jail.
The so called “war on drugs” was championed in 1973 by then president Nixon – when he created the Drug Enforcement Administration. The initiative has since cost tax payers billions of dollars and many experts would argue it has been an objective failure.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.
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